Tag Archives: family

The Gift of Beauty.

Beauty is a gift from God. God uses beauty to soothe our souls from a sin-weary world.

The sun was setting in a cold February sky, sinking behind massive cloud banks to the southwest. The clouds were shades of blue and purple, surrounded with pink and gold and crimson. I turned and gazed at them as I rode along, my hands freezing cold inside the thin jersey gloves, my face icy in the wind.

It was my 14th birthday, and I was spending it in a dreary Midwestern winter, where the damp cold seeped into your very bones. I went to school in the morning, and there was singing and good wishes. But, as soon as I got home, I had to change into work clothes, saddle up my horse, and ride 3 miles to my dad’s sawmill to help him cut lumber.


I hated that sawmill, and never more than in cold weather. I was glad I had a horse to ride, (my begging had finally paid off) but the cold was just going clean through me, till I reached the sawmill.

Beauty is a gift from God. God uses beauty to soothe our souls from a sin-weary world.

The sawmill.

Several hours later, we had finished that load of pallet lumber and I climbed back on my horse and headed for home. As the sun set, those blue clouds looked for all the world like a mountain range off in the distance. I gazed at them, soaking in their beauty, thanking God for such a wonderful gift on my birthday! Beauty is a gift from God. God uses beauty to soothe our souls from a sin-weary world.

We were poor, and my birthday always fell in the winter when finances were especially tight. This year, mom either forgot about my birthday, or couldn’t squeeze any extra gift money out of her budget.

Anyway, she had a small pair of new sewing scissors that she’d bought for herself, but she wrapped them and gave them to me. I hated sewing, it gave me hot prickles on my neck! But I knew she wanted to give me something, and I appreciated the effort. I knew we couldn’t afford nice gifts. I used those scissors for over a decade, and thought of mom every time I snipped thread. :)

So, after a somewhat dreary birthday – this stunningly gorgeous sunset was a feast to my eyes. God knew I loved mountains! He understood my heart! He knew I wanted to live out West, and He ‘gave me’ some mountains on my birthday! I felt His love and kindness and understanding for me. I felt it deep in my soul. He cared about me! I rode the final mile in near-darkness, but the memory of that sunset has stuck with me for over 20 years.Beauty is a gift from God. God uses beauty to soothe our souls from a sin-weary world.

As a child, I felt misunderstood. I got angry because I felt like I couldn’t be heard. As I grew older, I tried explaining myself,  but that didn’t help. I didn’t know how to communicate what I was feeling, without getting into trouble. It was very frustrating, and I lashed out in anger because of it. But there were times when I caught a glimpse of how God understood me. He understood my longings, my fears, my deepest desires. He understood how much I wanted to please Him, how much I wanted to be ‘good’, how I hated myself for my failures. No one else understood me – but God did.

Many times this glimpse of the Father’s heart came through beauty. Beautiful scenes, beautiful pictures, beautiful words, beautiful music. It was like He gave these lovely treasures – memories – that I could carry in my heart forever. I still can get teary about a beautiful piece of music, picture, or story. Beauty is a gift from God. God uses beauty to soothe our souls from a sin-weary world.

This world is so broken, so ugly and messed up from sin. But God – our Father – He still loves beauty. He gives us these gorgeous gifts freely to enjoy. I encourage you to start noticing beauty. To begin accepting it as a gift from a loving Father.

God uses beauty to soothe our souls from a sin-weary world. Click To Tweet

God knows what kind of beauty your heart craves. Is it the sight of a perfectly conditioned cow? The gentle ripples in a pond? The mesmerizing flicker of a campfire, or the iridescent sheen on a trout? Does a soaring hawk give your soul wings? Does the sound of a harmonizing chorus make your heart want to burst?

Beauty is a gift from God. God uses beauty to soothe our souls from a sin-weary world.Beauty is a gift from God. God uses beauty to soothe our souls from a sin-weary world.

Is it the dance of a cutting horse or the flashing of grouse on the wing? Maybe the lush green of a hay field ready to cut that makes you smile, or the sight of dewdrops on grass. Does the crash of ocean breakers make your heart thunder? Does the unexpected sight of a bright desert flower, or the grandeur of a black starry sky make your eye light up?Beauty is a gift from God. God uses beauty to soothe our souls from a sin-weary world.Beauty is a gift from God. God uses beauty to soothe our souls from a sin-weary world.Beauty is a gift from God. God uses beauty to soothe our souls from a sin-weary world.

Whatever makes you stop and smile – thank God for that gift. He is a good, good Father who loves to shower us with beauty and love. Let’s stop rushing through life and see the roses, at least. Beauty is a gift from God. God uses beauty to soothe our souls from a sin-weary world.

The funny thing is, I now live by the mountains. Practically in them! I often stop and wonder how this is real?! This gorgeous place we call home. It may not be long-term (cowboys rarely stay one place for real long), but while we live here, I am thoroughly enjoying it.

I am overwhelmed with the beauty around here. I ride my horse through these mountain meadows and just get lost in the wild beauty. God has generously fulfilled my childhood desire to live ‘Out West’ and by the mountains. I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve any of the good things in my life. But God understands. He gives good gifts. Beauty is a gift from God. God uses beauty to soothe our souls from a sin-weary world.

Lest you think: “how perfect your life is”, let me assure you that there are trials in every type of life. My floors get crunchy and my laundry piles up. Sometimes we have relationship issues we have to work through, and we aren’t gonna retire in Beverly Hills. (horrors!) But, we serve a good God, and if you open your eyes to His beauty all around you, you might start seeing how much He loves you!

Beauty is a gift from God. God uses beauty to soothe our souls from a sin-weary world.

My real life mountain! We live here. Pinch me!

31 Days to a better marriage: Speak well of him.

31 days to a better marriage: speak well of him.

Do you realize the power of your words? You can build up your husband or tear him down – by how you speak of him. When you speak well of your husband, you are respecting him, you are showing others you care about him, you are reminding yourself of your love for him. I am sure you have heard women who are sarcastic and derisive of their husband. It just doesn’t sit right, does it? I mean, even if it is a funny story or whatever – we feel bad when we sense the pointedness of the remarks.

We need to be careful to respect our men with our words. Maybe you are just sharing a funny story that involves him, but be careful – some funny stories should never be shared. If you are feeling defensive about it, ask yourself if you would like if the situation was reversed? What if he told stories like that about you? That’s an easy test to see if it is actually funny, or maybe should be kept to yourself.


Speak well of your man in public. Even if he has faults – maybe especially because he has faults! Praise the good things about him, tell others what a great dad he is, what a hard worker, what an awesome hunter, buckaroo, farmer, whatever. It helps YOU remember why you like him, for one thing. It will reach his ears at some point, too, and encourage him.

The way we talk about people shows how we expect them to act. Click To Tweet

The way we talk about people shows how we expect them to act. If you are always telling your girlfriends how your husband works late without calling, you will notice every time he does that. Soon, it will seem like that is how he ALWAYS behaves. That issue becomes bigger than it is. Mountains out of molehills, you know.

But if, when that happens, you brush it off with: “well he is working on that extra project”, and focus on how dedicated and hard-working he is – you will be grateful instead of complaining.

Action: Think of one area that you have been complaining about to your friends. Ask yourself what your husband is good at –  start focusing on the good side of this issue, and being grateful. Whenever that issue comes up – remind yourself you are only taking it to God from now on, and share only the good trait.

Example: Your husband makes a mess in the kitchen after you have it cleaned for the night. You could whine about to your friends, OR, you could be thankful for how he eats anything you make without complaining, etc.

Read the rest of the series HERE.

31 Days to a better Marriage: Teaching the kids respect.

31 days to a better marriage, teach the kids respect

One huge way to show your husband love – is to teach the kids to respect him. They pick up on your attitude and opinions, so if you are always respectful and loving – chances are they will be, too.

When they are small, make a big deal about Daddy coming home. Rush to the door with them to greet him. Let your husband know that you and the kids can’t wait till he gets home!


Give him special treatment sometimes. Or all the time! It is a sign of security – not submission – when a wife finds fulfillment in treating her man special because she loves him. Get the kids in on it by bring him hot drinks in the winter or cold ones in the summer. Make it an honor to do special things for him like cleaning out his truck or folding his clothes. Little kids enjoy doing special things for the people they love. This practice will help them see their dad as someone who needs to be respected. (for his position, if not his character)

As they get older, don’t ever talk disrespectfully about him whether he is present or absent. Kids naturally don’t like when someone speaks ill of their father – just like they naturally don’t like anyone to speak ill of their mother! Sometimes they will come to you with questions when you must tell the truth – don’t ever lie – but you can still be respectful.

“Yes, dad made that decision and we might not agree, but we still need to respect him. Sometimes we disagree, but God has placed Dad as the leader in this family, and we are going to honor him.”

Never fight in front of the kids. Always present a united front. If Dad tells them no, but they come to you – you say no too. It doesn’t matter if you disagree with your husband. You stand with him. You back him up. Let them know that you will enforce dad’s rules. You can discuss disagreements privately, later.

My kids know I am the pushover! (I’m not proud of that) So every once in a while they come to me. Sorry but no. If dad said no, then I say no too! It won’t hurt kids to be disappointed occasionally – but it may hurt them to have parents who are not united.

Respect your husband by teaching your kids to respect him. It may change your marriage!

Read the rest of the series HERE.

31 Days to a better marriage, No Tattling!

31 Days to a better marriage, no tattling.

No Tattling sounds a bit juvenile – I get it. But the problem remains, no matter what you call it. Are you telling your mom/sisters/friends about your husband’s weaknesses under the guise of humor? Maybe as a shared prayer request? Or just flat-out as griping?

This needs to stop.


There is simply no place in a Christian wife’s life for tattling on her husband. How would you like if he told his buddies how you spend too much money – and they all laughed about it? Or if he told his mom how you are such a terrible housekeeper and he never has clean socks?

You know, marriage is a good place for the Golden Rule.

“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31

But he DOES treat me like this! He tells mean jokes about me to his buddies!” OK, that is a hard place to be. I get it. I have watched men do this to their wives, and it is NOT Christ-like. It is selfish and cruel. But as a Christian, you must treat him the same way you would any other sinner: with love and kindness, always desiring that he would come to repentance.

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Proverbs 31:26

Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:12

They (believers) must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. Titus 3:2

This is the part of the gospel no one wants to face: death to self. Because death is unpleasant! But if we say we believe the Bible, and we say we are obedient to Christ – then we need to treat everyone with kindness and not gossip. No tattling. No carrying grievances to your buddies. Even if he does. I like how Elizabeth George says, in her wonderful book to wives:

Your goal as a Wife after God’s Own Heart is to help, heal, and to minister to your husband with your words–not to slash and slice him to pieces.Your rash words can resemble the thrusts of a sword, or they can disperse refreshment that promotes health, edifies, encourages, and delivers grace to your husband. (Ephesians 4:29) -from A Wife After God’s Own Heart

What to do if you have a disagreement? I always, always advocate for prayer first. Pray fervently, daily. God and the Holy Spirit can do far more than your nagging and complaining. Yes, there is a time and place for getting outside help. But just the piddly little stuff that irritates you? Nope. Don’t go throwing him under the bus to your mom. No tattling.

Read the rest of the series HERE.

31 Days to a better marriage; Technology.

31 Days to a better marriage, Technology

Technology is one of those things with which I have a have a love/hate relationship. I mean, obviously technology makes my life so easy, and helps me so much! But then, it also can be distracting and frustrating(!!) and get in the way of real relationships.

You’ve heard the jokes about wives who run up credit debt online, or husbands who play video games all the time. Sadly, this is all too common. Now, we have the smartphones to add to the mix; we can buy and play with a swipe of our thumb.


It is easy – far too easy – to live virtual lives instead of real ones. To chat with a friend 1,000 miles away, instead of talking to the person we are sitting next to on the couch. To share our beliefs and the Gospel with someone in a different state instead of with our neighbor.  To invite friends to online ‘parties’ instead of inviting them over for coffee.

What does this mean in the context of marriage?

We need to remember that first; this is the world we live in. You ain’t gonna change it, friend. Nobody is going back to 1988. (except a few preppers, maybe) This is our new world. Don’t mourn and fuss and whine about the good old days. That’s what my grandpa said, too, and he farmed with horses till 1960! (or somewhere around there) I mean, there’s a place for old-fashioned things and simplicity, I agree. But there’s a point…

Second, technology can be a real blessing! You can read blogs on marriage 😉 , get financial tools,  find jobs, find date ideas and places to stay. You can learn a new skill. You can watch movies. You can listen to sermons and find Bible studies. So many good things to do with technology.

OK, but is it a blessing or a curse in marriage?

Satan wants to bring it between us. He wants to make it a curse. He is a cunning enemy who wants to make us fight and fuss. HE wants to tear us apart any way he can! Technology can certainly do that. But God wants to make it a blessing. We have the same Saviour in 2017 as we had in 1988. We can allow Satan to use technology to come between us, or we can allow God to make it a blessing.

This obviously takes two people to agree that you will not allow Satan to get a foothold. Two people who agree to put their relationship first, and technology second. Maybe you don’t actually ‘sit down and talk about it’, per se. We haven’t. But when technology (usually our phone usage) bothers one of us, we tell each other in a kind, respectful way. I’m not saying we are perfect in this area, but we are learning and growing.

We give each other our full attention when we talk to each other. We don’t interrupt each other when we are busy with something online. We give grace when one or the other spends extra time online or watching a riveting movie series. Again, we’re not yet perfect, but we try.

Remember the good old days where everyone ignored each other with books and newspapers? 😀 Yeah, that wasn’t much better. I know technology has overrun our lives, but we can control it, by the power of the Holy Spirit in us. Just like alcohol or food, it can become an addiction that needs broken. But in the right place, it can be a blessing!

31 days to a better marriage, technology

Texts to each other: flirty, encouraging, loving. Encouraging websites, sermons online, even games to play together. Music. Sending pictures of the kids. Skype. I’m sure you can think of more!

Remember; Satan wants to tear you apart in any way he can. Jesus wants to bring you together. Technology is just a tool. Don’t be a slave to it, don’t allow it to control you. Embrace the good in it, be thankful for the good points.

If your husband suggests that you are using it wrongly; listen to him. If he is using it too much, lovingly discuss it with him. Pray about it. But don’t allow Satan to use technology to tear you apart.

Read the rest of the series HERE. 

31 Days to a better marriage – Date Nights

31 days to a better marriage - date nights

Do  you find it hard to have an actual ‘date night’?

Me too.


Especially when you have babies and toddlers in the house, it is just hard. If you have family nearby, you might wonder what all the fuss is about. But if you live far from family, you will know exactly what I am talking about!

We have lived far from family for years. We have friends, but here in Wyoming, even our friends are pretty scattered! While we had babies and younger children, we just didn’t have many date nights. We did get a babysitter once a year and take a night away for our anniversary. That was so important to our sanity and closeness as a couple. We also tried to have 1-2 nights where we’d get a sitter and go out to eat. But even that was hard.

But why bother?

I do feel it is extremely important that a couple gets a bit of time alone, now and again. Even if it is only 1 time per year. Yes, you can be a close, loving couple without ever doing it, but frankly, I know very few couples who are deeply in love with each other, who don’t take time out for themselves. (I can’t think of any, in fact)

“We do everything as a family.” That sounds wonderful and so committed – but remember that you were a couple before you were parents. If you never go out, never take a night away, then you will need to be extra vigilant to get some time together at home. You just can’t properly nurture a deep, caring, friendship-love when there are kids climbing over you and listening to you talk.

I know, I know. You disagree with me.  Well, maybe I am wrong. But if you think so, let me ask you: Do you have a deep, loving, friendship with your husband, or is marriage a bit of a disappointment to you? I challenge you to answer honestly. (To yourself, of course.)

The people whose marriages I respect and look up to – they say to get away from the kids once in a while. They say that the kids will be fine. And they are right.

When I was a young wife, I hated leaving my toddlers for a night. I thought they would be scarred for life, haha! But my husband encouraged me to invest in our marriage – and I am so glad he did. I do not regret even one night away from my ‘babies’. We never lost the sense of ‘us’, and I credit time alone as the reason.

But how?

This is the tricky part! It is hard to have the time, money, or sitter. If you have one you probably don’t have the other.

How to find a babysitter: Family is ideal. Friends are second best. If you have neither – then you need to find friends!! Seriously. I recommend that you start by going to church. Even if it isn’t perfect, find a church that believes as closely to Scripture as possible. (just pick the best one in your town.) Then go to that church and make friends, serve them, get plugged in to their lives. You will soon (hopefully) find one or two families who will be willing to trade babysitting. You can also use drop-in daycare. I haven’t, but I think it would be a decent alternative.

I will say that when I had a nursing baby, or one under 2, I often took them along. Especially when we moved away from family.

How to find time: For a night away, I suggest that you put it on the calendar. We used to take a night away on our anniversary, but since we moved to WY (and ranch life) it is a bad time of year for us, so we take our night away a different weekend. But we plan ahead, every year. At least a tentative plan. If we were visiting family over the holidays, we’d plan an extra day, and arrange to leave the kids with grandma for a night.

For date nights we do it differently. If you have a set schedule, then a regular date night may work. It hasn’t for us. We ‘take a notion’ to go on a date, and go! When our kids were little, we grabbed every opportunity we could find. If we had an out-of-state sibling visiting, we left the kids and went on a date.

Now, we have teenage kids!! What a blessing to have built-in babysitters. I remember feeling that this day would never come! But here it is. And we LOVE it! 😀

How to find money: Oh boy. What a tough one, right? Really, we haven’t done much fancy stuff, because we are not rich folk. We would absolutely love to travel overseas or even just to Yellowstone for a weekend getaway. But realistically, we just can’t. The one exception was our 10th anniversary. We saved then splurged, and went to Washington D.C. for several days. That was a huge treat, and a trip that gave us many good memories.

For dates, we sometimes go out to eat, sometimes just ice cream! Right now we live far enough from town, that when we can make it work we will go to town together. We walk around the store, picking up what we need,(not groceries)  then get a burger or ice cream on the way home.

Our dates get simpler and more meaningful as we age. Driving 2 hours to and from town is a wonderful date. Checking water or putting out mineral is another way to get time together while not spending money.

When the kids were small, we’d stick them to bed early then pull out some special treats and drinks and have a date on the couch.

Usually for anniversaries, we spend one night at a hotel in a nearby city. We eat out and maybe catch a movie or a local, inexpensive attraction.

On leaner years, we’d get a babysitter for the kids, then pick up a pizza and some pop, and rent a movie and go home. In some ways, that was as relaxing as anything! Very inexpensive, very private, and no hassle of packing/unpacking.

I highly recommend you try this! Especially of you have sitters that you can easily get for a night!

I hope I have sparked an interest in you to make time for your marriage! Maybe you can’t take a weekend away. Maybe you need to put the babies to bed and light some candles and dress up. Maybe you just need to say YES next time he asks you to go check water. Better yet – YOU ask to go along, then be interesting and helpful and stay off your phone. 😉

Read the rest of the  series HERE.

31 Days to a better marriage: You don’t have to like him.

31 days to a better marriage: You don't have to like him.

Today I have a short and perhaps odd point to make about your marriage. See, I hear this a lot, and in different forms: “I don’t like my husband. I don’t love him any more. There’s no spark anymore. We just grew apart. There’s no feelings any more.

These statements may be 100% true. But that doesn’t excuse you from the vows you made before God. Lack of feelings doesn’t give you an excuse to leave your man – it just means you need to  give more attention to your marriage. See, you don’t have to LIKE your husband. You just have to treat him with love.


Feelings are fickle. They come and go. We can’t make decisions based on how we feel. Maybe you need to start practicing love. Practice speaking in loving tones. Practice by doing acts of love for him. Practice thinking good thoughts about him.

Jesus commands us to love each other, and the amazing thing is; if you practice showing love to your husband, (or indeed, anyone!) you will probably start liking them, too! It may take a while, but consistent acts of love are the best way I know to bring those fickle feelings around.

Ask yourself: “How would I treat him if I was madly in love with him?”

Now do that.

“Fake it till you make it” is a terrible-sounding adage. But really, it is pretty close to the truth! Only, it’s not fake if you are sincere. Sincerely wanting to obey God by loving your husband. Sincerely wanting a deep, meaningful relationship with your husband. There’s nothing fake about that!

“Practice till you become” may be a better saying.

You want to know something else? There are very, very few women who are willing to humble themselves and obey God in this area. To say: “OK God, I will begin today to treat my husband with the love and respect You command, no matter if he loves me back, no matter if I feel like it or not.”

Do you realize how brave that is? That is pure faith. Faith in a God big enough to hold you. Faith that His promises are true, that He cares about you.

We hear the term ‘be brave’ bantered about a lot these days, but the real bravery? It’s not wearing a cute tee-shirt with fancy lettering – it is following God into scary waters like these.

Be brave, my friend. Love him like you mean it. Love him till you like him. Do it till you feel it.

Practice till you become.

Read the rest of the series HERE. 

31 days to a better marriage – Roles in the home.

marriage roles

You can do a quick google search and come up with a thousand differing pieces on roles in the home and what they should be. I am not going to quote research or the ‘experts’. There is only one expert in the field of family and home – and that is our Father God.

As a child of His, I am only interested in what He has to say, what He asks of me. I don’t care if it is unpopular, I only care what He says to me when I stand before Him and give account of how I spent my time.That day is coming, you know. “Let God be true, and every man a liar“, you know.


So what does God say about it? Let’s look at some verses in Titus:

“Encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,  to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” Titus 2:4-5

This is what the older, Godly women are supposed to be encouraging; a life working at home in love, respecting their husband, being kind and sensible. It really is so simple and plain, but Satan has used unGodly people to spread lies about God’s plan.

Instead of understanding our great calling as mothers and wives, we now have to explain and justify it, and fight the feeling of ‘I’m just a stay at home mom’. We try to look put together so no one guesses that we spend our days wrangling kids and wiping spills.

But consider Timothy’s mother & grandmother. If it weren’t for their sincere faith, we probably wouldn’t have the example and blessing of Timothy.

“For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.”  2 Timothy 1:5

What an example! That because of the lives and teaching of two generations, we have a Timothy. It doesn’t mention the fathers, you notice. Probably, they had to work long hours and were just not home much to help with the training of the children.

You see, mothers can teach and train their children to Godliness with the help of God. Two are better than one, but if our man is working long hours or gone a lot – we can still teach our children! We spend the most time at home with our children, so we are responsible.

Oh, but what if you are working full time? Who shapes and trains these young minds then? The daycare? Babysitters? Let me assure you that no one cares about your children’s souls as much as you do. Apple and Hollywood are not good substitutes for a loving mother who aches for the souls of her children.

Paul tells Timothy that women are not allowed the ministry of teaching or being a pastor, but she can be a mother. In this way, Paul is raising motherhood to the same level of ministry as being a pastor! 1 Timothy 2:12-15

What a glorious calling! Think of Susannah Wesley – one of my heroes since my childhood – she was poor, very poor, and had so many children (!!) but she was diligent in training them to God’s Word, and think of the far-reaching influence of that teaching! John Wesley has blessed thousands, and it began with his Godly mother. What if she had taken a job to earn money to relieve their poverty? The children would have missed that daily teaching that she faithfully gave them.

Should our husband help us? Of course! In my last article, I wrote about asking for help versus using him as our personal servant. Men naturally excel at most professions. I know women don’t like to hear that, but it is true! We can do almost everything men can – but it takes more effort to become great at it. Men are stronger, bigger, and have more testosterone. These physiological differences give them an edge.

Only one place where women outdo men – childbearing. Our bodies are geared towards childbearing and motherhood. Incidentally, women also have a higher pain threshold than men, which I find humorous! 😀 (childbirth, anyone?!) The way our bodies are created should be a clue to how God wants a home to work.

There are circumstances where mothers have to work outside the home for survival – I get that. And I believe God gives grace for such situations. But when we have small children at home, our first responsibility is to nurture and train them.

Men are wired to be more aggressive, to fight for their families, to protect, and serve. This serves them well in the Provider role in the home.

Women are wired to be nurturing, gentle, relational, and intuitive. This serves us well in the Nurturing role in the hime; caring for our chldren.

I am not saying it is sin to work outside the home. What I am saying, is to be wise and understand what the will of God is for you. Don’t allow the world to shape your beliefs and actions. Open the Scripture and get on your knees. Ask God what He would have you do. He gave you to these children as their mother – are you being faithful to that trust?

Read the rest of the series HERE.

31 days to a better marriage – Asking for help.

31 days - asking for help

Have you ever been frustrated because your husband didn’t help you with some task? Maybe you were overwhelmed with caring for the baby, or getting a meal on, or homeschool, and he doesn’t offer help?

I remember a few times earlier in our marriage when this would happen to me. But when I took my frustration out on him, you know what he said?


“You didn’t ask.”

It wasn’t that he was forcing me to ask for help – what he meant was; he didn’t notice that I needed help, and I didn’t ask.

That was not his fault – that was mine! Why was I getting frustrated with him when I didn’t even ask for help? Maybe I thought: “if he really cared about me he would notice!” But that is just ridiculous. Your husband can’t read minds any more than you can! Don’t ask him to.

Ask for help when you need it. It is OK to ask for help. But ask in a gentle, kind manner. Don’t bark out commands like bossy mom. 😉 Remember to treat him as you like to be treated. He might not see what needs done – after all, you are (probably) the one who spends more time in the house.

Don’t use him. Yes, we all need help, and we are a team. That doesn’t give you license to kick back and take it easy the minute he walks in the door. He has been working too, you know. He is not your slave or personal assistant. Don’t throw everything under the guise of: “well, it’s his house too!” to excuse your laziness.

Maybe you work together all day. That is great! So continue working together at home. If you need help, ask. But don’t become his mother, and don’t turn him into your slave. Work in unity.

Be careful of your tone of voice. Are you asking or ordering? I am so used to telling my kids what to do, that sometimes I unintentionally just tell my husband what to do, too! That’s not cool. I try to work on that, to watch my tone and inflection. I want to be respectful of my husband in even the smallest areas of life.

Read the rest of this series here. (scroll to bottom of page)

31 Days to a better marriage – The rewards!

31 days to a better marriage, the rewards of a good marriage

Are you getting a little overwhelmed and bogged down with thinking about all the sacrifice and effort that a good marriage takes?

Me too.


So today, I wanted to remind us WHY we work on our marriages, why we sacrifice ourself, and put in the work. We do it because it is worth it, right? Maybe you are in a spot where it doesn’t feel like it IS worth it. If so, it could be that you need to put more work into your marriage before you start seeing the results.

A good, strong, loving marriage does not happen overnight. It is the result of intentionally loving one another, year after year. Intentionally sacrificing Self, intentionally building up a a deep reserve of good memories and intentionally forgetting the bad.

Here is a list of the benefits and rewards you can expect, if you both are seeking God first, and loving each other unselfishly:

Deep contentment. I don’t know why I never hear this, but it is one of my favorite parts. When I think of my husband, I get this feeling of contentment – like I have a hundred million dollars in the bank.

Security. We are secure in the love we hold for each other. We trust each other. I know I don’t have to worry about him cheating on me, or flirting with other women, and he has the same security in my love for him.

We enjoy being together. There isn’t much better than sitting next to him on the couch at the end of the day, sipping coffee. Sometimes we talk and sometimes we don’t. Either way is fine. Just being together is wonderful.

We have fun! Laughter, jokes, (he has a wonderful, dry sense of humor!) teasing…

He holds me when I cry. He doesn’t always understand my female feelings (shucks, even I don’t understand them!) But he always holds me and comforts me when I am feeling sad – even if I tell him “I don’t know why I am crying!!”

He encourages me in my dreams. No matter if it is raising chickens, (an exercise in futility, it seems) growing vegetables, (same!)  exercising, or writing a book. He is always encouraging and telling me to go for it!

We pray for each other. No one cares about me like my husband, and no one knows better how to pray for me than him. I value his prayers highly!

We balance each other out. His steadiness helps my impulsiveness. My touch of crazy brightens his quietness. 😀 My constant talking gives him someone to listen to, and his strength balances out my weakness.

We sharpen each other. Sometimes, we see something in the other one that they can’t see – so we (gently) call it out. This is something we do more as we grow in our love for each other. In other words, we didn’t do this much as young marrieds, and I think that was wise.

Too often young people get all self-righteous about something they see in their partner, and want to set them straight. Please be very, VERY careful about this. It is better to pray and let the Holy Spirit show them their faults, than to be harsh. Husband OR wife – be careful. Relationships can be ruined by too much ‘setting straight’.

But as we get stronger and wiser in our relationship, we can give and take gentle corrections. And it has been very helpful for me, when my man has shown me something in my attitude or actions that is unChristlike. I have blind spots where “I” am concerned, so it is a favor to me, if he tells me how I come across to others. Then, I can take that to God and let Him show me how to change.

We can be ourselves. In this politically-correct world, it is a rare place where one can say an opinion without someone mis-interpreting it. (thanks Facebook!)

Intimacy. Surely one of the best parts of marriage, but I will leave it at that! 😉

We are nearly at 17 years of marriage, and I feel more ‘in love’ every day! No, I am not stretching it. By the grace of God, our marriage has grown into a wonderful bond of love and care between us, and I pray it continues to grow. I am not saying this to brag, because I do have the benefit of a great husband. But I want you to be encouraged that you can get here too! Especially if you are in those first 10 years – don’t give up!! Keep working on it. Be careful that you hold God’s Word higher than any book, preacher, or counselor. (including this series)

The rewards can be better than you could imagine! Not that we don’t have troubles – finances, loss, disagreements, health, etc. Yes, we have had it all. But we keep coming back to God’s Word and each other, determined that Satan won’t separate us, by God’s grace!

Read the rest of the series HERE.